Laguna Beach

Photos: Randy Ronquillo
Words: Garrett Leight
Featuring: Drew Meseck & Samantha Meseroll

Did you know that I was born in Laguna Beach and lived there until I was two? How could you know that? You probably don't even care. This may surprise you being that Laguna Beach is part of the OC, but it's basically just a rad old quiet hippy beach community that values art, surfing, and sunshine above all else, and yes, money is a close fourth.

My dad used to tell me that he and my mom lived in Laguna Beach because it was the only thing that reminded them of Hawaii in California, and this was in like 1979, so you can imagine what Hawaii was like back then. You'll see in these photos a little food spot called The Stand, arguably the first true vegan restaurant. Nowadays it’s sometimes referred to as the bland, probably because vegan food has evolved so much, but The Stand just stays the same. Nothing new, same menu 30 years and counting. And the art, you can't go two blocks in Laguna without seeing some crazy dolphin mural, or random sculpture, or really any piece of hippy inspired art that’s probably made by the Laguna High School art teachers of years past. But that’s what it’s all about. That and surfing….surf, surf, surf and bro lifestyle. But not OC bro lifestyle. In a way, Laguna Beach is not the O.C. and that makes it righteous.

We trekked on down to visit the awesome, fun-loving New Jersey transplant lovers Drew and Samantha in their pad to see what it’s like to be a young Lagunian? Lagoono? Lagoonie? I don't know… what we found was epic and glorious. Every day Drew wakes up at the crack of dawn to check out the surf and cruise down to one of the many great surf spots in the Laguna area to check swell and the lineup. On this particular morning we rolled up to a local spot (it will remain nameless) loitered with the Laguna High Surf Team, which must have been upwards of 40 kids. As we rolled up they had just gotten out of the water and they were taking a team photo. They were"STOKED," to say the least. Where else are 14 year old kids stoked to be taking photos on the beach at 6:30am for their surf team? That’s strictly a Southern California privilege that teenagers nowhere else know about. Anyway, the kids cleared because waves were flat, but literally the second they split, it picked up and Drew and his bros capitalized on some nice morning freshness.

We followed it up with a little breakfast at The Stand, coffee at the Laguna Café, and scenery from the rooftop of their apartment. And last but not least a visit to Drew's work (A GLCO Retailer), North Menswear to say what up to Pete and capture some photos in the quaint downtown shopping area of Laguna Beach. It truly was a glorious California morning, where the thing I remember least was waking up at 4:30am to make it to Laguna Beach from Venice by 6am. I love California.